The Rangers’ patience with Alexis Lafrenier may have worked


Do you want to know what I intended to write before the Rangers won a 4-3 shootout against the Devils in the Garden on Sunday?

Even though I had no answer, I knew the question and the number for the AHL Wolf Pack. I’m going to write if blueshirts and Alexis Lafrenier’s mutual long-term interests are best served by sending 13. For a spell that will allow 2020 to restore its game to the first-overall and regain the confidence that seems to be waning.

But then came this wild and crazy game, which was covered by a very entertaining seven-round skill contest on his second attempt (and after his 2012-13 freshman season) his first shootout goal of his career.

Then came the game, in which Lafrenier did not score his first goal in seven games but played with power, asserting himself with and without the puck and looking like a lost young man in need of a minor league apprenticeship.

It is not known whether the hierarchy really considers international headlines to be handled with utmost care. General manager Chris Drury said the 20-year-old needed to make an impact, not a punishment but a chance to reset after a difficult opening for his sophomore year.

The thing is, it should always be top of mind in the eyes of the organization and Lafrenier, they’re together. If Lafreniere fails anyway, so does the Rangers. If Lafreniere is to flourish, surely his team.

Alexis Lafrenier
Alexis Lafrenier scored his first goal of the season for the Rangers on Sunday.
Corey Sipkin

Not only did LaFreniere score, but Capo Cacco recorded the first Power Move of the Year highlighting a beautiful two-on-one off net with Ryan Strom prompted by a neutral takeaway from Finn. And then the second-overall pick of 2019 finished the night with a booze-inducing shootout.

It was a night of life for pingpong balls. Lafrenier and Cocko; Cocko and Lafreniere. In his second season as a team-mate, this marked the second game of the two goals, the first being an 8-4 win over the Penguins on April 6.

For all their warts, the Rangers are 9-3-3. The record also makes it easier for children to care and not overreact to the way the columnists do. Patience is an easy-to-practice virtue when looking down on most leagues.

Asked if he should work to maintain his confidence or if he spent a game on the fourth line, settled into the third line and increased the span by playing fewer minutes, Lafrenier said, “A little bit of both.”

“Of course you have to work on it. When you go to some games without scoring, you think about it a little bit. But if you work hard and give your best every day, you will have no regrets, for sure.

None of this is easy for Lafreniere, who has produced only a few “wow moments” during his tenure. Infectious Diseases Protocols made for a very challenging rookie season, so there is no step forward. Although he was expected to play the top six, he was unable to sustain it. There are questions.

But you know, Lafrenier has played more games (71) and has scored more goals (16) than any of the six members of his draft class currently in the NHL. He and Ottawa’s third overall player Tim Stutzel are the only two players in the entire league of 2020-21. And if Stutzel provided key moments a year ago, it took Saturday and the Senators 14th game to score their first goal of the season.

Rangers
Sammy Blaze (91) jumped into the capo of Capo Cacao after Alexis Lafrenier’s goal.
For the NY POST

So, patience. So, understanding. Therefore, nutrition.

“The confidence level, with those little kids, you worry about it,” head coach Gerard Gallant said. “There are three or four of them … [Filip] Chaital, K’Andre Miller. Those kids are young kids. But you have to keep playing them.

“They give us big dividends, Lafreniere’s big goal, Kakko with a goal and a shootout. Those kids are big on it. ”

Every time Lafreniere scores – four times this year – there will be a rush to stamp the event as an upcoming party. But we know better than that. It’s about a young man – a personable and engaging kind of person – as he progresses into work.

On this night, the least progress is obvious. Lafreniere was involved. He went to the net, served in a free puck resting outside the net. He was engaged in wars. They were an important part of the equation.

Questions about Hartford can wait.

.

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